When the House Judiciary Committee asked Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to publicly testify about Trump’s obstruction of justice crimes today, they knew exactly what they were getting. Lewandowski is a consistent liar and naive loyalist who will say anything to try to help Trump. Sure enough, his testimony today was a disaster – but that’s the entire point.
House Democrats are currently locked in a series of legal battles aimed at forcing Donald Trump’s associates to provide testimony and evidence about Trump’s crimes. Until the Democrats win those battles, nothing can proceed in any meaningful way. Televised impeachment hearings would fall flat right now, without anyone willing to show up and talk about the crimes that Trump has committed. Everything the House Democrats are doing right now is in furtherance of those legal battles – and that includes Lewandowski’s appearance today.
Corey Lewandowski refused to answer even basic questions today. More importantly, he furthered Donald Trump’s ongoing criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice. Trump quickly tweeted that Lewandowski had delivered a “beautiful” opening statement, all but admitting that he and his people wrote it for Lewandowski.
The whole thing was in fact beautiful, for the House Democrats. It significantly strengthened their legal argument for Trump’s people being compelled to show up and give fully cooperative testimony. In fact it’ll probably happen incrementally faster now, as a result of today’s shit show. When the order to cooperate comes from the courts – and it will – Trump’s people will face a choice of selling him out or being arrested for contempt of court. Some of them will sell him out. House Democrats only need some of them.
In the meantime, most (not all) pundits are insisting that today’s hearings were a disaster for House Democrats. These pundits are either clueless about what’s going on, or they’re pandering to frustration over the fact that things aren’t progressing more quickly than they are. Regardless, House Democrats won big today. They took a smart step closer to taking Trump down, and they clearly don’t care what things look like in the mean time. For people like Jerry Nadler and Nancy Pelosi, this is about winning in the big picture and taking Trump down, not about coddling the public on a daily basis.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report